Here are our top five email marketing tips for building and maintaining loyalty amongst your subscribers
You recently launched your landing page and collected thousands of signups for your new email newsletter. Now how do you keep your subscribers interested?
When you build loyalty with subscribers, you have an opportunity to convert readers into customers and customers into supportive champions of your product or service.
I’ve gathered five email marketing tips that can improve both qualitative and quantitative outcomes for growing subscriber loyalty:
1. Share Content People Want
Above all: don’t make it about you. Any information you deliver in your newsletter should be about your customers. Understand them as best you can and deliver what they want.
For example, if your company makes trackers for different fitness activities, find out which activities each of your subscribers enjoys most so that you can share relevant information (e.g. new poses with the yogis vs. marathon tips with the runners).
But how do you know what people want when you’re just getting started? It’s a continual experiment to determine which content resonates and where you need to adapt. The first step is to test email subject lines.
Test Email Subject Lines
The subject line is your first opportunity to start building a relationship with your reader. You want to write compelling headlines that will make your readers curious and click through to what you have to offer. According to Salesforce, 64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line.
Keep your subject lines as straightforward and short as possible to increase open rates. Also, make subject lines actionable and make the email personal by adding a subscriber’s first name at the beginning or end.
PayPal recently sent me an email to announce that Uber is now accepting payment through them. The subject line read, “Uber and PayPal, it doesn’t get much better than this, Kristen.”
I opened the email because the personalization caught my attention and the conversational tone didn’t make me feel like PayPal was trying to sell me something.
Analyze Open Rates and Click Rates
Open rates and click rates will help you determine if people are interested in what you’re delivering. If readers don’t open your emails or they’re not clicking on links within your emails, then you’re not grabbing their attention.
There are several factors that can influence open rates and click rates, such as the day of the week and time of day you send emails, whether you include photos, and how many links you include. Also important is why you’re sending the email: for example, are you promoting a holiday weekend sale or are you sending some of the best reads of the week as weekend reading?
According to a Yesware analysis of more than 500,000 sales emails, open rates are highest on the weekends (when inbox competition is low) and people are most responsive to emails in the early morning or later in the evening.
When BustedTees, an Internet retailer of t-shirts and novelty items, changed its email delivery time to suit the local geography of its subscribers, the company’s revenues grew by 8%. BustedTees determined that 10 a.m. was the best time for people to receive email, and as a result of sending messages at this time, more people started opening them.
Email newsletter programs like MailChimp and Campaign Monitor provide comprehensive testing and analysis options such as the best time to send emails and segmented lists to help you increase the effectiveness of your delivery.
2. Limit the Number of Calls-to-Action
As we explained in a previous post, a Call-to-Action (CTA) is exactly what it sounds like: it genuinely calls people to take some type of action.
To maximize effectiveness, your email should contain at least one CTA, such as asking subscribers to download your app, click to read your most recent article or report, or sign up for a new campaign.
But, it’s best to provide just one or two CTAs per email. If you start to ask too much of your subscribers, then you’ll most likely start to see your open rates decrease and your unsubscribe requests spike. In most cases, people want to quickly absorb your email content and then move on with their day.
Spotify recently sent me an email newsletter to introduce Discover Weekly, a new playlist created for each of its subscribers.
There were two calls-to-action: “Play Now,” which encourages use of its new playlist, and “Try Premium Free,” which is an incentive. While the company put two CTAs in a single email, its team made “Play Now” the priority by placing it at the top of the email in a bold color.
3. Develop a Solid Feedback Mechanism
Frequently ask your readers for feedback to determine if the information you’re sending is helpful to them. Starting this conversation shows that you’re listening and that you care, and it will help you better understand your (potential) customers.
You can collect this feedback in a few different ways:
Create a quick and easy online survey and ask your readers to take it. Consider adding an incentive for a discount or free item to increase participation.
Tools like Survey Monkey are simple and effective to issue a single question survey or brief poll. These programs make it easy to collect, analyze, and visualize survey data in charts and graphs.
Ask people to answer one question, such as “Are you enjoying the content you’re receiving?” or “What other information would you be interested to receive?”
Readers can hit reply and send suggestions that they might have. It’s an informal process that creates an open forum for customers to be honest with their ideas and feedback.
Once you implement changes or respond to suggestions, subscribers will know that you’re paying attention. This exchange then creates a two-way dialogue and an even more valuable and loyal relationship.
4. Build Credibility through Influential People
Influencers have the potential to attract new subscribers to your email newsletter. If someone of importance, whether a celebrity or popular blogger, endorses what you do, then you’ve already started gaining trust with a subscriber.
TheSkimm, a daily email newsletter with news for busy and educated women, contacted influencers like Oprah to collect feedback before launch.
It was an integral activity to focus on what customers would want from a newsletter of this type and involve influential people who could start generating interest. And the strategy worked, with the newsletter building a following of close to 100,000 women soon after launching.
What could influencer engagement look like for you? Start buildings a short list of influential people who you think would have a vested interest in your newsletter. They could be an expert, personality, or blogger in your industry.
Then, consider what you can offer influencers to encourage interaction with your email newsletter. Could you interview them? Could they write a guest post? Can you cross-promote each other on Twitter?
Influencers will likely be more beneficial engaging in certain areas than others. For example, someone who has a large and engaged Twitter following could help promote your newsletter via social media, while an influential business expert could help spread the word via their professional networks.
5. Engage Your Subscribers with Incentives
Incentives are usually offered to encourage use of a product or service. Common incentives include discounts or subscriber-only content like an e-book with industry insights or compelling information.
TheSkimm is known for its lavish incentives. Here’s how the company introduced a recent incentive: “Idea. How about you and a friend go to St. Barths for three days? Spa treatments and airfare too. Enter here. You’re welcome.”
The benefit is described clearly and creates excitement—importantly, the reader knows exactly where to click to enter.
Concluding Thoughts …
When executed properly, email marketing can be one of the most effective tools for engaging your subscribers, helping to grow their interest in your product or service and converting them into paid customers.
We’ve shared our top five email marketing tips above but now will leave you with one more: Build loyalty with your email followers in the same way that you would nurture a friendship. The process takes time, attention, and care, with a bit of fun and surprise sprinkled in for good measure.